Sport Events Congress 2016 delegates challenged to dream big and aim high!
Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance – March 14, 2016 (Ottawa, Ontario) As the 16th Sport Events Congress (SEC) wrapped up in Ottawa, delegates were left with a challenge from the final plenary speaker, Andrew Campbell, Senior Executive Director, Canada 150 Federal Secretariat. As he outlined the tremendous opportunities that abound in celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017, he used the words of His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada to inspire the leaders of sport tourism in Canada: “The country we dream of won’t build itself. Our 150th anniversary is more than a party; it is an opportunity to project an image of what kind of country we are and what we want to be in the future.”
Throughout the three days of SEC 2016, the theme of how sporting events unify the country was also evident. In all of the keynote presentations, the legacy of events, from physical facilities, to economic and social impacts, to inspiring young people to play sports, prevailed. Greg Stremlaw, Head of CBC Sports outlined the renewed vision and commitment of CBC to tell the stories of our amazing amateur athletes. The Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport, for the Province of Ontario, cited the ongoing legacy of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am / Para Pan Am Games as an example of what hosting a major multi-sport event can do for the region, province and country. Peter Montopoli, the General Secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association articulated that the success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 will be seen as a game-changer for women’s sports around the world. And The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to sport and sport hosting.
“It’s obvious that the sport tourism industry remains such a strong and vital part of our Canadian economy,” said Rick Traer, CEO, Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance. “Our first congress in 2001 attracted 48 participants, and 15 years later, over 360 people registered for the event. To have over one third of our delegates here for the first time joining the seasoned veterans who have been the foundation of developing CSTA, is a strong indicator that the future of our industry is in very good hands.”
During the Sport Events Exchange, more than 40 different sport event rights holders were available for eight-minute pitches from destinations to try to find the best fit for sport events with facilities, hotels and tourism opportunities. Break-out sessions offered a wide range of skill development and stimulating discussion to challenge the delegates. The fourth annual Provincial/Territorial Hosting Forum continued to provide an opportunity for sharing best practices and encouraging the alignment of Federal and P/T hosting programs.
The 10th anniversary PRESTIGE Awards luncheon was skillfully emceed by Scott Russell, host of CBC’s Road to the Olympic Games. His knowledge of the sport landscape, both historical and current, was obvious and he demonstrated once again what a true champion he is for sport in Canada. The social events this year offered a glimpse of what Ottawa and the Outaouais offer in tourism activities. Winterlude / Bal de neige 2.0 featured ice wine tasting and maple syrup taffy to warm up a chilly evening. Host partner Ottawa Tourism welcomed delegates to The Bash at the Brier, highlighted by the best in men’s curling during the evening draw of the Tim Hortons Brier, and a visit to the famous home of curling’s after party – the Brier Patch.
Tony Fisher, CSTA’s Executive Director, Research & Analytics, conducted a survey of delegates and provided an economic assessment of this event, and determined that it generated just over $1 million in economic activity.
Sport Events Congress will return to Ottawa next year, March 20-22, 2017 to celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial in the Nation’s Capital.
Copies of the Congress presentations are now available on CSTA’s website here.
At CSTA’s Annual General Meeting held in conjunction with the Congress, Cheryl Finn (London) was elected Chair of the Board of Directors. Elected to the Board for the 2016-2018 term are: Heather Bury (Saskatoon), Brian MacPherson (Ottawa), Blair McIntosh (Toronto), Wayne Long (Charlottetown), and Julie Nadeau (Sherbrooke). They join Neal Alderson (Halifax), Joel Bergevin (Gatineau) and Denis Paquet (Quebec City) who all have one year remaining on their terms. Grant MacDonald (Fall River, NS) remains in his position as Past Chair.
About the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA)
The Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance is a non-governmental, member-based, capacity building organization that promotes sport tourism as a grassroots economic development initiative at the community level. The CSTA services over 500 members across Canada, including 150 municipalities, 300 national and provincial sport, multi-sport and major games organizations and a variety of other sport and tourism industry partners. Sport tourism is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry in Canada with approximately $5.2 billion in annual spending by domestic and international visitors.